Etymology: Middle English, real, relating to things (in law), from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin & Late Latin; Medieval Latin realis relating to things (in law), from Late Latin, real, from Latin res thing, fact; akin to Sanskrit rayi property
Date: 14th century
1. of or relating to fixed, permanent, or immovable things (as lands or tenements)
a. not artificial, fraudulent, or illusory ; genuine <real gold>; also being precisely what the name implies <a real professional> b. (1) occurring or existing in actuality <saw a real live celebrity> <a story of real life> (2) of or relating to practical or everyday concerns or activities <left school to live in the real world> (3) existing as a physical entity and having properties that deviate from an ideal, law, or standard <a real gas> — compare ideal 3b c. having objective independent existence <unable to believe that what he saw was real> d. fundamental, essential e. (1) belonging to or having elements or components that belong to the set of real numbers <the real roots of an equation> <a real matrix> (2) concerned with or containing real numbers <real analysis> (3) real-valued <real variable> f. measured by purchasing power <real income> <real dollars> g. complete, utter <a real fiasco> 3. of a particle capable of being detected — compare virtual 3 • realness noun II. noun Date: circa 1626 a real thing; especially a mathematically real quantity III. adverb Date: 1718 very <he was real cool — H. M. McLuhan> Usage: Most handbooks consider the adverb real to be informal and more suitable to speech than writing. Our evidence shows these observations to be true in the main, but real is becoming more common in writing of an informal, conversational style. It is used as an intensifier only and is not interchangeable with really except in that use. IV. noun (plural reals or reales) Etymology: Spanish, from real royal, from Latin regalis — more at royal Date: 1555 a former monetary unit and coin of Spain and its possessions V. noun (plural reals or reis) Etymology: Portuguese, from real royal, from Latin regalis Date: 1951 1. a former monetary unit and coin of Portugal 2. — see money table
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.